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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2619

Is the LTTE losing its propaganda war in Italy?

Rome, 01 September, ( Recently, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Italy, had the occasion to meet Rev.Ignazio Romesh Seimon, who is a member of the Benedictine Monastic Community in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul's out side the Walls (Vatican extra territory) in Rome, Italy. He had paid a visit to the Embassy to personally meet the Ambassador and to appeal to him about certain misconceptions that most visitors mainly from all parts of Italy and the rest of the world had expressed about Tamils.
Rev. Ignazio Romesh Seimon  appealed to the Ambassador to carry out a message to the Italian people, stating that all the Tamils whether in Italy or elsewhere are not terrorists.Rev. Ignazio Romesh Seimon appealed to the Ambassador to carry out a message to the Italian people, stating that all the Tamils whether in Italy or elsewhere are not terrorists.
Rev. Ignazio Romesh Seimon, incumbent of the St. Paul’s Basilica, faced this difficulty when giving explanations to some visitors who questioned his nationality and the reaction these people expressed when he said he was a Sri Lankan.

The visitors were not happy with the explanations given, and questioned whether he was a Sinhala or a Tamil. When he said he was a Sinhala, the visitors seemed relieved, as they perceived all Tamils, to be terrorists. The reverend priest appealed to the Ambassador to carry out a message to the Italian people, stating that all the Tamils whether in Italy or elsewhere are not terrorists, so that the Sri Lankan Tamils being identified as terrorists would not fall upon them. Even the Tamils in Tamil Nadu are sometimes looked upon by the others as Tamils who are supportive of the terrorists. This is very unfortunate.

The Ambassador explained to Rev. Seimon that when he came to Italy, the insurmountable task he had to face was that the Sinhalese people were perceived by the Italians as racist, suffering from deep rooted anger against the Tamils and killing innocent Tamils, oppressing them and failing to give them any kind of freedom.

Today the Amnassador said that the scenario has changed. From Bolzano, the furthest north of Italy down to Modica in Sicily, the furthest south, the LTTE has become well known as a terrorist organisation, killing innocent children and women by the use of suicide bombings, and employing children as cannon fodder.

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of this terrorist outfit, is now considered as a monoethnic megalomaniac killing innocent civilians. The propaganda machine of the LTTE has failed to counter these sentiments. The exhibition of photographs in the websites, the images of children without limbs, women almost burnt to death, athletes dismembered into pieces, and the gory details of human cadaver displayed in the website has created a deadly impression amongst the Italians about the LTTE.

Some Italians are now refusing to employ Tamils as domestic collaborators. Ultimately, not only the Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka, but all Tamils living in Italy will suffer from the megalomaniac tendencies of Prabhakaran, the most ruthless killer in the world. Rev. Ignazio Romesh Seimon appealed to the Embassy to start talking to the Italians, and to inform them that the majority of Tamils in Italy do not support terrorism. The Tamils must be distanced from the terrorist organisation, Rev. Seimon appealed.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador in response said that ‘we have not forgotten the contribution made by the Tamils to Sri Lanka’s independence. Two of the greatest leaders we had, who were able to designate the LTTE as terrorists, are Tamils: Lakshman Kadigarmar and Neelan Thiruchelvam, both of them killed by the terrorists. Even today, we have moderate Tamil leaders like V. Anandasangaree who repeatedly denounce LTTE terrorism. These expressions of condemnation emanating from the Tamil leaders have caused the propaganda machine unleashed by the LTTE to become stifled and palpably false.

The Ambassador explained in the beginning of November last year he had to contradict where the Vatican newspapers wrote articles sympathizing with the LTTE, has written several articles about child conscription, condemning it. He assured Rev. Ignazio Romesh Seimon that the Embassy always embraced all communities.

The Embassy conducted two successful Mobile Consular Services in Palermo and Reggio Emilia, where there is an intense concentration of Tamils, the Ambassador said. He expressed his satisfaction that the Vatican has given the Sri Lankan Government its fullest cooperation and support.

Recently, the Sri Lankan Catholics handed over a petition to the Holy See, thanking His Holiness Benedict XVI for his intervention in the Madhu affairs.

- Asian Tribune -

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